The old saying goes that ‘fans only jeer you when they fear you’ and Marko Arnautovic showed Stoke City fans what they are missing with a virtuoso display on his return to the Potteries.
The former Stoke star, who completed a Club-record move to West Ham United in the summer, was in irresistible form at the bet365 Stadium, even after Saturday’s 3-0 Premier League win had been delayed for an hour by a power cut.
Arnautovic was booed throughout, and cheered when he missed a number of good chances, but silenced his detractors with a well-taken goal to put his side two goals clear and on course for their first away victory of the season.
“It was very hard for our supporters because they waited, first for the game to start and then for me to score,” he said.
“I had a few chances and I was disappointed for myself because I wanted to score the goal, but in the end when I scored the goal and I released the fans and the players and everyone with the Club.
“It’s just wonderful to get the win. It was perfect.”
We can be very happy with this and we can enjoy it, but on Sunday we went back to work again
Arnautovic certainly did not want to hug the praise for himself, though, and was quick to share it with his teammates.
The Austrian dovetailed superbly with his attacking colleagues, with Manuel Lanzini, Arthur Masuaku, Michail Antonio and substitutes Diafra Sakho and Chicharito causing Stoke repeated problems in the final third.
At the other end, the back five and goalkeeper Adrian were unbeatable, protected effectively by Mark Noble, Pedro Obiang and youngster Declan Rice.
“We always start from the defending and from keeping a clean sheet and from there we go forward,” the No7 observed.
“We did well going forward and we did well in behind, so it’s perfect. We can be very happy with this and we can enjoy it, but on Sunday we went back to work again.
“Obviously we played very well. The only thing Stoke had was the long ball. They are a threat with the long ball, but our back five did very, very well.
“The gaffer wanted us to play football at the front and we did. I had a couple of chances and we could have scored at least five or six goals, but we got the 3-0 and we’re very, very happy.
“We got the three points and we go again on Tuesday, when we go to Arsenal in the Carabao Cup and we want to get through to the next round.”